Friday, 8 May 2015

The Guillotine and the Noose.

The results are in, Tory Majority. Much of the UK will be asking itself how the polls got it so wrong.

Now that the election is over, we’ll be told that it’s just time to ‘heal the divisions’ and ‘suck it up’ because ‘democracy has spoken’. That’s if we’re told anything at all.

Consider; this was an election the outcome of which you couldn’t split with a guillotine. It was an election billed as the tightest of modern times. Polls hadn’t shifted in months. So what happened on the day?

Cameron’s noose – that object so beloved of hangmen, which strikes mortal fear into the condemned.

Human brains are funny things. We can be told all sorts of stuff, but we don’t believe it until presented with the news/act/fact that’ll bring it home. Two simple examples can be used to demonstrate this, the condemned and the smoker. The condemned usually manage not to think much about their future, or relative lack of it, until the final little while. Seeing the noose brings home everything, that last walk, the trepidation builds. For tobacco users, it will always happen to someone else, until it happens to them, then they usually wish they’d made different choices.

At this year’s GE, Middle England was presented with tales of an ‘Ajockalypse’, and in a comedic way it struck home, but wasn’t really taken seriously.

When many of Middle England’s swing voters walked into the booth however, they saw the horror of ‘Ajockalypse’ on that ballot paper – like the hangman’s noose, it was staring them in the face. For them though, there was an easy reprieve, just hold your nose and mark the paper somewhere else, praying that enough others would do the same that you’d be granted a permanent stay of execution.

It worked.

Middle England voted for the pain of five more years of ‘austerity’.

Middle England voted for ongoing demonization of the poor.

Middle England voted for disgraceful treatment of the underprivileged.

Middle England held its collective nose and voted for unfettered Toryism.

Middle England voted for Nuclear weapons; for bombs before bairns.

Middle England voted for ongoing creeping privatization of the NHS.

Middle England voted to go with the only significant party not promising constitutional reform.

Middle England voted to hurt itself.

Middle England did this because it was, quite simply, more afraid of ‘Ajockalypse’ than all of these issues combined.

Scotland must suffer it, because it’s what Middle England wanted. Faced with a perceived immediate disaster by ‘Ajockalypse’ and a more prolonged but incremental pain, Middle England chose unrestricted Toryism as the way to save itself from Scottish influence.

Middle England chose unidentified but certain and savage cuts. Cuts that have been guaranteed but not specified as to where they’ll fall, because it was convinced it was preferable to the certainty of ‘Ajockalypse’.

It really doesn’t matter how anyone examines the facts, at day’s end, both Labour and Tory campaigns were woeful, the polls told us this too. The only thing which really separated them was ‘Ajockalypse’.

On May 7th, 2015, Middle England decided it couldn’t suffer ‘Ajockalypse Now’, it didn’t realize that with that choice, it’s guaranteed it; it’ll just never acknowledge it as such.

David Cameron won an election – he squandered a state to do it.

History will teach, ‘Ajockalypse’ will be the word that finally condemned a union.

David Cameron will ultimately go down in history as the Prime Minister who won a referendum only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It will only rate a footnote, if that, but the strategies Cameron pursued were designed by an American, Jim Messina, an American who has absolutely no concept of an already fractured Union, an American who doesn’t care for it. Jim Messina is an American who’s interest in his personal stock, in ‘chalking up another in the win column’. Anyone who doubts that only needs to look at his actions before and after the result.

Jim Messina won’t be the one to suffer though. He’ll just go home to America.

While David Cameron will rightly bear the blame, he employed the man after all, there’s a lesson in employing folk from outside the franchise to meddle within it.

David Cameron will try to heal the rifts, slap sticking plaster on the wounds. History will show he might as well have tried to put out the great fire of London using a teacup dipped in the Thames, for like that conflagration the firestorm of constitutional upheaval will now just have to burn itself out. As to Cameron, he might just find himself unaware he has already chained his legacy to the stake.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fantasy Land

That’s really the only two words I can use to sum up either the Tory or Labour party manifestos.

If you’d rather, ‘In Yer Dreams Mate’ might work as well.

Look at what being offered, count the cost, and note the current account deficit.

There’s no money.

Where will the ability to pay for these pledges come from?

The poor can’t pay, the rich won’t pay (their lobbyists will see to that) and the middle class are about broke.

That leaves another round of demonization followed by sweeping benefit cuts, or cuts to basic services. Either way, it’ll do nothing to halt the swiftly rising tide of need for things like food banks.

This is not my kind of society.

Both parties could pre-identify savings; it’s really not that hard. There is a huge one in Trident for starters. There are two more in a couple of aircraft carriers that this island state, with its four constituent nations, can’t even afford the aircraft for. Sell those ships and put the cash in the coffers, and yes, we’ll take a loss, but then we did vote in the idiots that ordered them in their imperial pretentiousness. However, that loss will be a one-time loss, not an ongoing drain and we as a nation won’t be paying to support America’s military industrial complex rather than our own.

I thought the Greens might offer England’s voters a credible alternative to the big two or UKIP, sadly, policy credibility is conclusively hidden somewhere in ‘Fantasy Land’ for them. What the Greens propose would be economic suicide. It is not that it can’t be done, it just shouldn't be done.

The issue is that England needs a credible alternative home for its popular vote, because right now it really does not have any viable home at all.

Imagine a Green party, or a new English party like the SNP that stood on a simple platform ‘We’re not going to change much, not right away anyway, but we will abolish the House of Lords’. Imagine them communicating that message.

The message would be enhanced by a guarantee of a real constitution, with a constitutional lock that’d guarantee a balanced budget within a decade. Throw in more constitutional locks such as the new upper chamber could only review laws or perhaps block anything the commons passed, however it’d have to be non-aligned and have equal numbers of members from each constituent nation.

Now get back to policies, just keep it simple, and explain that you really can’t give Jo and Josie public any more than what they've already got, because you’ll have to deal with the mess the other idiots left behind, and you’re certainly not going to promise something then renege when you open the treasury doors and find a note saying ‘good luck, enjoy, sorry there’s no money left!’

If you want those fuzzy green policies stuffed in there, clean up inner city air pollution, explain that it’d lower the burden on the NHS due to pollution related health issues, and then propose a phased in assessment based upon how much a vehicle pollutes. If you've got a heavily polluting vehicle you’ll pay yet another tax that’ll support green policies, and that money will go directly to local councils for that reason. Give it a ten year phase in, there’ll not be much objection, most of us will simply plump for low polluting transportation as time passes and escape the penalty.

That’s just one example to demonstrate that things really aren't that difficult to change, given time, the desire to make a positive contribution and the proper approach.

I expect I’d vote for a party proposing that sort of progressive change, especially if it also allowed me to replace my MP mid-term if they weren't serving their constituents, or promised that any MP guilty of violating the law of the land would be subject to triple the normal sentencing guidelines. They should, after all, be held to a higher standard.

It is possible to spend your way out of a recession, but you can’t do it by fulfilling election promises that will increase the current account deficit – it only works if you use the money to put folk to work, generate more taxes, get more competitive and protect the home market in some way. Do that and you can work to a balanced budget and greater wealth for us all. Maybe one day we’ll see a UK wide party and not just a national one propose something along those lines?

Perhaps, but then again there’s a reason this blog’s titled ‘Fantasy Land’.

In the United Kingdom, for as long as it exists, I’d expect it will always be ‘politics as usual’, because a balanced budget won’t make money for the bankers and financial gamblers who sit at the heart of the City of London, and therefore UK government.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Well Played Nicola

In the last 100 hours we’ve seen some rather dramatic election happenings. The machinations are utterly inconsequential to the English, but so very impactful north of Hadrian’s Wall.

We have seen Nicola Sturgeon re-emphasize her offer to the Labour Party, as in the London Establishment one crewed by the failed coxswains of Eton, Oxford and Cambridge. ‘Let’s work together to put Ed in number 10’, with the undertaking ‘I’ll make certain he’s got a spine and will follow through on at least some of his promises’.

Although the SNP know they’ll have a very limited window in Westminster to achieve much of anything before a future snap election is called, that offer can now be seen to be a bit of genius, intentional or otherwise.

I say ‘genius’ because it has assured Ed that Scotland is utterly irrelevant in this contest. It doesn't matter which way the country votes (not that it ever really did, much) because now he’s got the country in the bag.

Not having to placate Scots voters effectively allowed him to turn his attentions to middle England’s middle class, which is where almost all the UK General Elections since the end of the World War II have been won or lost.

Add that to a few polls showing the Conservatives starting to nudge ahead and Ed had little choice if he doesn't want to hemorrhage votes down there. He’s now got to practice some big time appeasement in Middle England, and pretty much guarantee them that unlike our oil revenues, their taxes won’t be ‘redistributed’.

Problem for Ed and Ed is the anointed leader of a non-existent Scottish Labour Party, specifically James Murphy Esq.

Jim, under their banner, has been doing just the opposite. He’s been promising that re-distribution. He promised it again after Nicola’s offer. In reality, he’d not a lot of choice, bleeding support as he is; he had to offer the now unfaithful something to tempt them back into the red-painted pen.

In reality, Nicola’s offer, ignoring Jim, sidelining him really, and going right to the power was genius. It told Ed, Ed and company, ‘deal with me, we’re equals in this game’.

It took less than 24 hours for Ed to chuck Jim under the bus wheels.

Ed’s deputy joined in not long after.

Poor Jim got ‘Chuka(d)’ again today. I expect he’s feeling a bit ‘tyred’ by now, which will be why he skipped the telly interview.

Wait a minute; a politician skipping an interview opportunity?

That one has me gobsmacked!

No matter what Labour and Ed Miliband now say before May 8th, these actions prove that absent a single party majority, the Labour-SNP deal is on the table, and Ed’s working for it in the only way he can, by winning Middle England and discarding Jim under the party bus.

For the first time in three centuries, Scots have a chance to participate actively in government.

Even if it fails, through a second election or a single party majority – Nicola Sturgeon will have won in the end.

Plan B – gotta love it!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Tactical Voting - Are the Unionists insane?

No – really, they must be. Even they would realise it if they bothered to do joined up thinking, not just focusing on the next quarter or imminent election like their pals in London’s City have taught them to do.

Just as they did in the referendum, they’re only looking at the here and now, the immediate reward, like a bunch of toddlers chasing lollipops. The problem is, once that lollipop’s gone all that is left is the stick. And sticks are just good for beating things with, or perhaps burning.

The burning will be on the pyre of pretense this time.

The flame of outrage will spring to life because even the craziest of Scots, as in anyone not confined indefinitely at ‘her majesty’s pleasure’ due to being just a little more than moderately disturbed, will come to understand ‘it’s all bollocks’.

Those Scots who were convinced to vote ‘NO’ during the referendum did so in order to keep the Barrel of Westminster Apples. However, the contents are already rotted and are no good for anything other than cider vinegar. Nevertheless the label on the tub proudly proclaimed in shiny red, white and blue the contents to be of ‘finest vintage’ while the media ‘Heralded’ it as such and the average establishment ‘Scotsman’ peddled those wares hard.

That MSM portrayed a scenario of ‘saving’ something and like puppies or drowning kittens, we’ll usually try to save something we know. They bet on it. Even then, it was close, because it took the entire establishment surging north in the last days, vowing everything with fingers tightly crossed behind its collective three party back, all the while singing ‘a Gordon for me’ as it lined up behind its new front man. So what if it was its old front man? It worked, it reportedly changed the votes of less than a handful of a hundred of us, but it was enough.

Several months on and we’re heading for the GE. However, the Scots aren’t buying it any longer. While I did expect a post referendum reaction I’ll admit to being surprise at the strength of it.

This time the singing isn’t coming across as melodic, not to enough of us to count anyway. You see, we know that with fifty or so MP’s, even holding the balance of power, they’ll still be the ‘feeble fifty’.

We know it because we’re already being told so, and we’re being told what will happen afterwards by London’s tame media.

We’re being told that the Tories and Labour will unite at Westminster to pass any legislation that might need to get passed to suit their very personal agendas and Scotland, with her wishes, be-damned.

However this is problematical as a formal alliance or coalition will strip from the English Electorate any illusion of there being two real choices. No, they’ve got to do it on a case by case basis, for that illusion of democracy must be preserved.

The quandary is, with so many individual MP’s or prospective MP’s having wildly varying opinions, especially on things like Nuclear Armaments and energy, there’s absolutely no way they can chance a ‘free vote’; the USA’s military industrial complex and her quiet lobbyists just can’t allow that either, in the case of Trident at least.

It will be downplayed in the media, but there’ll be no avoiding it, there will need to be a formal alliance between the Labour and Tory parties to achieve their joint aims. It might be case by case to try to fool England’s populous, but happen it will, and the Scots at least will know.

Of course, they can avoid it, if they can form an intentionally ‘ineffective’ government with the SNP involved and then engineer a ‘crisis’ where the administration loses a vote of confidence. They’d do it when the polls were favourable, preferably right before a big vote where Labour-Tory cross party unification is needed, though they’ll probably try to pull in the Lib-Dems and present it as ‘national unity’.

The crisis will be engineered when the polls swing enough to make a single party majority a virtual certainty. The “calamity” will be instigated by creating a need for a vote on something the SNP just can’t support. The government, like Callaghan’s in 1979 will fall apart, just as he knew it would before he called his confidence vote. And the blame and sham cries of “Foul” will once again be heaped upon the SNP. Consequently, it can be almost guaranteed the Tories will be elected. After all, England’s media at least, doesn’t want us dastardly Scots anywhere near the corridors of power.

In the meantime, to preserve the pretense of democratic rule in England, it’s entirely possible some major concessions towards Scotland might just have to be voted through. They’d do it because it’d probably make the polls swing faster as well.

North of Hadrian’s wall, the world is viewed rather differently, as will be the outcome this potential future election. The Scots will have a constitutional lesson that can’t be swept under the carpet. ‘Like trying to pull us out of Europe’ we’ll be told in no uncertain manner that our voices don’t count.

The Europe bit? That’s smoke and mirrors. That almost certainly won’t happen.

Trashing the value of democracy in Scotland, it’s an ongoing thing in the Union – and the Union will run true to form.

So why vote SNP, why try and outdo the ‘Tactical Vote’?

Because in the several months they are down London way, those men and women might just achieve a lot, and even if they don’t manage that, they’ll still achieve a lot – for the elections in 2016.

You see, these 2015 elections aren’t about 2015, they’re about a better goal; they’re about an absolute majority at Holyrood 2016. A majority that will be deliver by a thoroughly aggrieved nation.

When the SNP achieves this majority it will then have the ‘changed circumstances’ required allowing a call for a snap referendum. Those who’d object to that would be objecting to democracy, as it would be undoubtedly the expressed will of the Scottish people.

And what happens if the Unionists see this plan? It’s irrelevant, because the only way to stop it is to allow full participatory democracy in London, there’ll be no ‘feeble fifty’; there will be a ‘mighty minority’.

So, go ahead, defeat that tactical voting proposal. You know you really want to.

Elect those SNP MP’s and poke that Westminster ant hill with a 400 mile long stick.

It’ll be a delightful watching the outcome.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Vote for Labour, Get Maggie.

And she isn’t even running in this election, bit difficult, since she’s dead. But her policies and ideals are in the race, and they’re under Labour’s banner too.

As I went through my little exercise yesterday, I was shocked to discover that even UKIP are to the left of Labour?

Yes, surprising, isn’t it?

Personally, I’d always stereotyped the ‘K
ippers’ as somewhere akin to the Monster Raving Loonies. How wrong was I? At least in part. That’d be the part that doesn’t deal with any policies of demonisation and racism. 

To try to sort my way through the confusion of the parties in this GE, it seemed fair to tabulate what they were offering, and what they stood or stand for. To that end, I rustled up the ten most important policies to me. I then looked to see where the parties and participants in last week’s debate stood on them. The fact that I was able to find a view 
from the seven parties on each of my preferred policies seems to support the fact that they might think they’re relevant too.

I use the phrase ‘stood or stand’ above and this is where we find some surprises. For as we know, times changes much.
Any newly adopted policies that might not generally agree with historical positions I marked as neutral - yellow. 
Where a party was in reasonably substantial support of the policy they got a green tick. 
If the opposed or did not support the policies they got a red cross.

Fairly straightforward.

If I couldn't make up my mind where the party specifically fell in regards to a policy, or no particular opinion was expressed, then I’d allocate two symbols. The poor Lib-Dem’s were the only party to get hit that way; you just can’t swear a vow and not keep to it. It’s also why the majority got nailed on this, but the Lib-Dem’s with student fees and a ‘federal UK’ effectively did it twice, so they get two black marks.

On a personal basis I believe politicians who lie like that (really no other word for it, is there?) should be jailed for electoral fraud. They made promises in return for votes, and didn’t keep them. No different to me selling you my ‘reliable car’ then you finding out the following morning it is only good for the breakers yard. The difference here is the big UK parties are asking you to buy another car, in the same condition, while telling you it’s all bright, shiny and new. There’s a fool someplace in that scenario, and judging by the reactions of Joe and Josephine public, it wasn't the big UK parties. On the other hand, with MSM spoon-feeding the public, what other options had they? From this point of view the internet and social media have been a great leveler.

Seems like it’s time for a change? There’s no shame in learning, just - for some - the effort is beyond them.

At least in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we've got that option, a nice bright shiny new vehicle in the form of the SNP. And so far, it has mostly done what it says on the tin. We’ll need to keep watching it though, just in case those attitudes it’ll be around are infectious. After all, there’s a track record there - just look at Labour?

Anyway, here’s the table, and based solely on policy, with my interpretation of the results, you really can see UKIP is probably a little to the left of Labour, which might account for some of their mass appeal in spite of being so poisonously radical and extreme in some areas of what they propose.

It transpires with these policies, UKIP is further LEFT than Labour.

Interestingly, the best correlation for everything might just be the referencing of 1950 Labour, because it does two things. It shows the popular appeal of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to be based upon support of policies which Labour championed back then, and shows how far the current Labour Party has drifted from those values. In my world that’s a clear indicator of why the red rose is hemorrhaging support. It’s not that public values or what the public really wants that has changed. 

A glance over these two charts quickly reveals the true state of affairs. 

With nearly 50% of Scotland’s electorate readying to vote SNP on this platform, we can clearly and simply see that what those folk are in effect voting for was much, if not most of what Labour stood for in its prime. 

Scotland has not abandoned Labour. Labour has abandoned Scotland

By looking at this and examining current voting intentions then it follows, Scots still have much the same values they had after the Second World War. Moreover the form that we Scot’s desire our society to take hasn't really changed an awful lot. Does this in point of fact mean that we have not moved forward in 70 years, or is this indicative of our desire to retain a core value that is a foundation stone in our society which we choose to protect? 

The Labour party on the other hand..? Well, only the folks at the top of that tree and their financial backers in the City of London or perhaps the Unions can really answer that one, can’t they? Then again, it has never really been the Labour Party since before Maggie broke the Unions, has it? If it had been, perhaps she might not have been as successful in her aims as she was. I can say that because the Labour Party of the fifties was quite honourable, by comparison anyway, and what gave Maggie her toehold in 1979 was Labour’s reneging and twisting of the vow on Scottish devolution.

Simply put, in 1979 had there been no lie there would have been no Maggie. Now wouldn't that have been nice?

One thing that’s very clear, it’s not your father’s Labour Party, it sure as hell isn’t your grandfather’s, and for all the difference, you might as well vote Tory these days, or Lib-Dem, if you don’t mind backing a bunch of liars.

Then again, from what I’m seeing here, you really couldn't get a silken thread between them, could you?

Additionally, from what I now see when I look at where the Tories were in 1980, against where Labour is today, then it really should be:

‘Vote Labour – Vote Maggie’

Because right now, Labour’s proposing support for things like the creeping privatisation of the NHS and international treaties without looking to see if they’re compatible with our core values.

That’s stuff that even Maggie didn’t dare to put on the table!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Election Deflection.

I find it somewhat disturbing when politicians point to their families attempting to prove just how deeply "we are all in it together".
Therefore I am more than a little unsettled and uncomfortable that Mrs. Cameron has chosen this time to share the pain of losing their child Ivan. 

Grief, with all its stages and duration of intensity is a very deeply, personal thing.
Each and every one of us has experienced it at some point in our lives; the loss of a parent, a child, a brother, a grandparent.
We have all dealt with these devastating emotions in the only way we can. Personally. Using whatever strengths we have to move us along from the initial transfixing agony, to a point in our lives where the pain no longer cripples.

Every one of us is well aware that this gradual process through which the individual journeys has well defined stages that are described and documented by various medical professionals. (Coping With Grief And Loss)

Each phase happens at different times for every one of us. Anger may be first, or denial … but each of these chapters are inevitably encountered by the mourner.
Sadly, some individuals may become stuck at any point during their grief; unable to comprehend “The Why” of it, or perhaps incapable of overcoming the anger or survival-guilt.
When they do hit a road-block in their recovery, what they need is professional help and empathy. Broadcasting your pain in the media during an election campaign is of no theraputic use.
Or perhaps it is only now that Mrs. Cameron has reached a stage where she feels able to “share”.

However, I notice with many politicians and their families, timing is everything.

I think if we are to believe there was no cynical aforethought to this, they should have considered a different timing to share their pain, because right now it just looks cold, cynical and calculated.

Either heading to the papers earlier in the year or waiting another month would perhaps have had less of "ploy" look to it.
If it is cynical manipulation of the press and public then it demeans the wee lad's memory.

The only thing I can take from the release and timing  of these emotional outpourings is the overt attempt to send a subliminal message to the disabled and vulnerable.
And this is clearly to communicate the idea of “I/we understand and share your pain. Trust me/us”.

What I find frankly disturbing, is the message is being delivered even now as Cameron and his government have already specified swingeing cuts directed towards these very people – although the details of the cuts, unlike the details of the grief - are being withheld until after May 7th.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

England Expects.

I’m re-entering the Memo-Gate affair here, because for the life of me, I couldn't at first see how anyone could possibly expect it to be successful.

The more I thought about it, the more I came to understand, there’s only really one scenario which fits, and it’s a cracker!

Essentially, Westminster’s establishment shot itself in the foot.

Let’s consider a couple of things; Europe’s about bloody-well fed up with them. Then we have the festering wound of the Calais situation with a semi-permanent camp of illegals sitting on French soil, for which France, rightly or wrongly, blames the UK.

That’s just the latest in an ongoing round of disputes that are all easy to uncover.

Now, under normal circumstances, in the world of diplomacy, London’s establishment had every right to expect the following to happen, and with very cordial relations between the two, it possibly might have. What the engines of Westminster didn’t allow for was France’s integrity (at least here) or possibly common cause with left of center leaning administrations in both Paris and Edinburgh.

It should, per London’s gutter press and dirty tricks department, have played out as follows.

Story breaks.

Nicola denies.

French decline to comment on the basis of it being “a confidential closed door diplomatic meeting”.

(And let's face it, in lieu of the actions of Sr Barrossa et al. during the independence referendum, we can clearly see that England had established a foundation upon which to expect)

Nicola denies again. Now supported by the other (all SNP) Scots in that room.

Gutter press picks up and distributes it with the strongest possible negative spin on Nicola specifically and the SNP in general.

The story runs conclusively for four to five days, is dragged out periodically throughout the election.

In the minds of many, the character and integrity of Nicola Sturgeon is now severely questionable.

At best (from a Scots’ influence perspective) the First Minister and her party only drop a few percent in the polls.

At worst, they are tainted, for some love to repeat rumors and innuendo (Telegraph, Scotsman, BBC et al), and lose as much as 6% to 7% of their vote, which swings back to labour – effectively re-enforcing labour hegemony in Scotland.

The establishment protects itself, all is well, per the London establishment. For make no mistake, London knows it will need to make concessions to Scotland if the SNP hold the balance of power, and as history so self evidently tells us, London absolutely doesn't want to do that.

Consider for a moment if the French had done as England Expects, and after all England always expects, as one Horatio Nelson put it (though there were Scots in that one too).

The end 
result - and Westminster’s preferred outcome - would have meant that Nicola Sturgeon and her party would have been left flapping harder in the wind than one of Nelson’s bloody flags that carried the famous message before that particular battle.

I think we need to say thank you to France for entering this particular fray and pinning its own flag to the mast of integrity, honour and decency.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

No to Democratic Rule.

What else can we think. Honestly, what other interpretation can be drawn from the reaction of England’s London based media to the attempted perversion of the democratic process in the attempt to sway votes or the electoral process with lies, supposition and innuendo.

Again we see what is simply a repeat of previous elections or polls, it was evidenced very clearly in the Referendum.

This time the story runs amok, starting in the Telegraph, about Nicola wanting to see Cameron continue in Downing Street.

Look at the timeline – Story appears.

Nicola Tweets a rebuttal.

The French support Nicola’s position.

The following day there’s an awful lot of column inches and headline space devoted to the now discredited story, but it’s done in such a way, though accurately reported in the body of the article, as to lead those simply skimming headlines (which as the editors are aware is the majority of us) that Nicola Sturgeon wants David Cameron to remain as prime minister. Essentially they reported the earlier article with largely the same story, and tagged in the rebuttals.

What we should have seen in any honest and truly democratic system was a full page apology by the Telegraph, a naming and shaming of the (alleged) civil servant involved, and headlines in all the journals, TV and social media which screamed at us “Civil Servant suspended while investigation launched into Sturgeon memo”, or some sort of variation. The in depth story should then have been carried about how the Telegraph itself had suspended or terminated the journalists in question for not fully investigating and simply producing an unsubstantiated gutter press article. Unless the Editor could also have shown good cause why it was published, he should be looking at his P45 as well.

Even the Labour Party from Ed Miliband to Jim Murphy weighed in with comments – duly reported of course.

It’s not what we’ll see though. We all know it too, at least many of us do.

We’ll not see it, because the article has served its purpose.

It has ‘smeared’ Nicola Sturgeon, it’s planted a seed (hopefully) amongst some would-be SNP voters.

One thing we do know, from the BBC to the now gutter press that’s owned and originates in London, they don’t want a Scots voice in that town, not a politically vibrant one anyway. They only want our wealth and resources to ‘reallocate’ as they see fit.

I could be proven wrong, I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. If I am, I’ll print that apology, hell; I’ll scream it from the rooftops.

It’s easy to prove me wrong too, Ed, Jim, Guardian, Telegraph, et al. Just print that apology, big, bold, front page headlines.

As to the heads of the Political parties, adopt a pledge to make it a criminal offence to try to sway the result of any plebiscite by any political party or registered company if done with unsubstantiated rumour or the reporting of such. The person originating it and the editor allowing it room; five years minimum should suffice.

After all, surely attempting to pervert the course of an election is as bad as attempting to pervert the course of justice. Those who create that justice, who write the laws, in a democracy, are the people we’re electing, and although we've strict and strongly enforced laws against perverting justice, we've apparently few to none when it comes to deciding what laws will actually be passed – which happens in the electoral system. It seems if we do have any, nobody bothers much about enforcing them.

There’s really only one reason for that, it suits those already in power.

Think about it.

If it didn’t, right now, we’d see Cameron, Clegg, Miliband, Farage on the news tonight, all proclaiming this as a disgrace, promising a full investigation, after all, it could just as easily have happened to one of them, couldn't it?

Oh, wait a minute? Maybe not.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Rocking The Establishment - Just for Fun

I haven’t blogged for a while, but it seems now’s a good time.

Wasn't it an interesting leadership debate?

Wasn't it even more interesting watching the rabid hysteria projected by England’s media afterwards?

Am I the only one that noticed that many photographs of the debate in its immediate aftermath omitted Nicola?

Then, of course, we have the accepted media acclaim that the best the SNP can ever hope to be are king-makers, and that’ll be a distant hope at best. We also have Jim Murphy banging his hollow drum to an empty room (except perhaps the journo’s) about the fact that only the largest party can form a government. Pay Attention Jim

Come in Jim, we all know you’re full of it, because nowhere is that written.

Then we have a scenario, if things don’t shift much from where they now stand, that you’ll (just for the sake of argument) have the Tories with 295, Labour with 294, the SNP with 50 and ‘others’ making up the remainder.

Now, let’s say that both Tory and Labour refuse to compromise on Trident, then a ‘deal can’t be done’ can it, and we’re heading for another new election in a few months, so everyone would have us believe.

Actually, there’s another rather unlikely scenario.

The SNP, after Labour and Tory pass the baton, could decide to simply form a minority UK government as the third largest party. There’s nothing to legally prevent them. In actuality, either the Tory party or the Labour party could, but if both chose to actively prevent it, then they’d need to work as a coalition, even if a very temporary one that’s only focused on a single issue – stopping the democratic will of the Scots.

If that happens, any pretence of Union is going to stink worse than a badly rotting corpse, and no amount of media spin will get past the message being delivered by the reality of the actions of Westminster’s two biggest parties.

The only other present alternative is a Labour-Tory coalition, and why not, they already agree in broad fashion on all their policies, from Trident to NHS privatisation. They’d only be making formal what existed for years anyway. I mean, why have a ‘shadow cabinet’? “Shadow” is no different than ‘prince regent’; it implies an entitlement that will be rewarded in the fullness of time, and that’s not a democracy.

It really is an interesting election, especially for Nicola Sturgeon, where it’s almost a ‘heads’ I win, tails you lose’ type of scenario. Just imagine, her party forming that minority government, because it’d make history in these islands. For the first time you’d have a Scot’s party with that level of influence in the belly of the beast, but even more humorous, hilarious even, is that with Nicola being First Minister of Scotland, she’s unlikely to be willing to emulate Jamie Sext and relocate to old London town.

That’d mean it’d most likely be either Angus Robertson, PM, or Alex Salmond, PM.

Democracy in action, for however brief a period.

Aye Westminster, between fair means and foul, ye might have won a referendum, the question then will be, are ye still glad ye did?

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Paradigm Shift.

So, it’s finally started.

The movement that will lead to independence for our nation has truly begun, and I suspect it’ll not end for a few years, but history will show the referendum of 2014 as being the time when the death knell reverberated loudly over the Union corpse. It not only tolled, but vowed it’d continue.

Gazing retrospectively at what’s inspired this blog, it became apparent to me that even while working and sincerely hoping for a ‘Yes’ in the 2014 referendum, at a deeper level I never really expected one. The most obvious reason being, our media isn’t our media. The Daily Record, Sun and the rest are either London or foreign owned. Ultimately, I was as devastated as anyone when we’d come so close only to fall in the last few days, almost entirely as a result of that same media’s trumpeting of the now ‘Disavowed Vow’.

The paradigm shift ultimately comes down to that ‘Vow’, because that ‘Vow’ moved the goalposts; it changed the debate utterly in the last week where ‘Yes’ was building to possible/probable victory.

Suddenly, folk weren’t choosing between ‘Independence and Westminster’, they were choosing between ‘Independence and Devo-Max’. Not only that, they were choosing ‘Devo-Max’ with a defined and very tight timeline. Gordon Brown even declared it’d be as near as damn a Federal solution resulting in a new UK.

Now, excuse me being blunt here, but there’s really no other way to put this.

Let’s face it, if you’re a unionist politician and leader, and not actually a worthless piece of sh*t, you were free to disavow that full page printed vow, but only if you did it publically as soon as the damned thing hit print. That and you’d better be demanding a retraction on the day. Failing immediate corrective action before the vote, folk of honour and integrity have no choice but to keep that Vow afterwards. It doesn’t matter if they actually made it, by their silence they assented and adopted it.

That vow made many voters switch back to support for the Union and consequently, the failure of follow through plus the distancing from it that’s taken place since (and is set to continue) has shocked quite a few ‘No’ voters; there are many who’d change their vote today if they had the opportunity to do it all over again. It’s a safe bet with the revelations since, it’d be the same numbers in the referendum; it would simply flip to a yes result.

That’s what’s behind the building paradigm shift within ‘No’ voters. It is pointless to say “We Told You So” now. They heard what we were saying, but on the day the paradigm shift was just a step too far for them to make, especially when offered the ‘comfy’ alternative of ‘Devo-Max’.

Life in the Union may be not be brilliant, but for many of the ‘No Voters’ it is bearable. Put that up against project fear and the ‘spectre’ of independence that was painted by Union controlled media, the only way a ‘Yes’ vote was going to be secured was by a massive swing in the Unionist vote. It still almost happened; it’s still necessary, however, not quite so massively this time. Except, there doesn’t need to be a ‘next time’. Everything can be accomplished through the ballot box at elections.

I actually didn’t expect the swing to be as rapid as it currently appears, but the event that gets people to change a lifetime’s habits is by necessity something fairly significant. In this instance it is lies and betrayal. Even then, opinions don’t change overnight, but it’s almost guaranteed they’ll change eventually. It’s a realisation event followed by processing time, and we all need different amounts of it.

Consider our average Scots’ voter. Now narrow it to the average Scots Unionist. Die-hards among them might even change now, although that’s less likely. On the other hand, the average ‘No voter’ saw three English parties come together with the weight of the media and eventually see off the ‘nasty Nationalists’ with a “Vow”. However at least a third, perhaps as many as a half of that ‘No’ vote wanted those extra powers. That equates to somewhere around 25% of the total electorate that wanted the substantial constitutional change they were promised. Consequently, these people were comfortable, content and happy in their vote. However, they weren’t specifically voting for ‘Westminster’, they were now voting for a stronger, better, more representative and democratic Scots parliament. It’s how many justified that ‘No’.

Essentially that 25% voted for almost the same as the 45% who voted ‘Yes’. They just didn’t want to throw away the security blanket; not yet anyway, not when they’d been promised ‘the best of both worlds’.

Except, they've now literally been told “What Vow?”

And surprise, surprise, they’re not happy and dissent is now beginning to peep over the parapet. They had a set time frame placed before them, it’s already been missed. Many of them, perhaps as much as 10-15%, have already gone from disappointment through regret to acknowledgement of betrayal and are done processing. They’ll never vote for a Unionist party again. It’s also ‘safe’ to do that now, the referendum is over and they don’t have to feel guilty about making that personal vow against Unionist parties.

Unlike those Westminster politicians, I’d expect these folk to be serious in their intent and it’s already showing. SNP and other pro-independence party’s membership have grown exponentially since the referendum. The latest IPSOS/MORI poll shows a near wipe out for Unionist parties at the next UK General Election, while the current ‘You-Gov’ isn’t quite so radical in its results, but has a similar overall conclusion.

There you have it; 25% of an electoral franchise who’ll not vote for the Unionist parties again, ever.

That’s a lot of betrayed people to have on your hands.

This is what happens when the average person is so fundamentally lied to, and then comes to realise it.

It’s also what happens when the average person in Scotland comes to understand what many of us who supported independence have seen for years; the media in Scotland has shown itself to be largely useless when it comes to balanced investigative and unbiased reporting around Scottish Politics. It means the media was largely a single use tool, like a tube of glue, and now it’s mostly full of air, it doesn't work so well.

However, the media can’t be discounted, but it can be anticipated its future impact will be significantly reduced.

These folk have that have just pushed the SNP vote share to 52% in the polls have had a paradigm shift. For many of them it’s no longer possible to vote for a Unionist Party and they've altered their world view, deciding on a party supporting independence or to simply not vote again. For many of them it may not be a conscious thought yet, but it’s coming.

The SNP for its part needs to capitalise on this to form an ongoing, broad but loose alliance with Scotland’s other independence supporting parties. They need to stand on a manifesto for the next election which loudly proclaims that it supports the democratic will of the Scottish people as expressed during the referendum.

This also requires the SNP to have a paradigm shift to match that of the referendum result and capture the awakening ire of that 25%. They need it this year. They need to deliver the results of that adjustment as they stride purposefully into the 2015 elections. The message needs to be that the electorate can always trust them to be sufficiently flexible so as to respond to its express will.

The SNP can then declare to follow the peoples’ desires and bring to Scotland and her parliament the powers contained within “The Vows” which Westminster has now reneged. Furthermore, they can affirm that one principle they will hold to, should the people elect a majority of Scots MPs from their party, is that these MPs will put Scotland first. After the ballot, Holyrood will extend an invitation to its Scottish colleagues who would be then based in Westminster requesting them to attend a vote in Holyrood.

It’ll be an invitation not just to attend, but an Act will be passed to permit them a vote on a single issue. Holyrood will pass that Act, having been spelled out before hand as the accepted will of the people as expressed through the result of the referendum. This is almost an identical circumstance as that which led to the referendum itself; democracy in action.

Folk will vote for such a message because they’ll not see it as ending the Union, simply holding the political feet in London to the fire and forcing honesty, and that’s how the 2015/2016 campaigns need to be portrayed to capture that additional 25% i.e., democracy has spoken; vote for us to force honesty from the democratic process even as we deliver good government.

The question is; what the contents of that Act should be.

Quite simply, it should authorize Holyrood to renegotiate all articles of the Treaty of Union with four notable exceptions. It would restore the full rights and responsibilities of the Scots Parliament excluding the areas of Foreign Affairs, Monetary Policy, the Monarchy (excluding the need for Royal Assent) and Defence. Passing of these Acts can be expressed simply as a combination of forcing honesty from Westminster, of assisting the many Scots who voted “no” in getting what they were promised by way of a Devo-Max or Federal solution, and lastly helping those who voted yes to reconcile themselves with the outcome of the vote. This would then be portrayed as putting the entire nation in a position to grow with harmony and cooperation as we walk forward. Essentially it would be an exercise in re-unity and reintegration following the referendum.

Effectively this is campaigning on a platform of the democratic exploration of the concept of nation building while remaining within the over-arching framework of the Union, which 55% declared they desired in the referendum.

In all practicality, this is the best way for some 70% of the franchise to obtain what it desired – or at least very nearly so. It’s a political compromise – for now, of where the party promised to go and where the electorate told them it needed to be.

The ball will then be very firmly in Westminster’s court, and how they decide to return it will prove interesting indeed. They may even decide to scrap what remains themselves.

Regardless of Westminster’s desires, with a majority of SNP MPs and MSPs under these circumstances Holyrood can then pass Acts under the banner of the democratic will, repealing or rejecting Westminster’s primacy in everything - except the reserved issues we, the Scots allow.

Effectively, the only primacy Westminster would retain would be in the areas of defence, currency and foreign policy with a sort of shared obligation on the fourth, the Monarchy.

Moreover, it would be done as the will of the people, an exercise in democracy; a beautiful thing.

The SNP should therefore enter the 2015/2016 elections with a shift in stance, specifically limited to these campaigns, to not be a party seeking independence, but rather Home Rule. A sensible party might also promise a Constitution to protect the rights of our Parliament, our citizens and legal residents, while declaring that although David Cameron may have promised this, if we vote for the SNP they will actually provide it. A truly intuitive party might even put a time-frame to it.

With that type of mandate delivered in a Westminster election following on from the referendum, respecting the Union yet holding it to account, Scotland’s parliament at Holyrood can have a secure democratic justification for passing the legislation for enacting this in Scots Law.

By right and accepted broadcast precedent, the SNP could even dissolve the Union with a majority of either Scots MPs or absolute majority at Holyrood, so long as they inform the electorate that was their intent. However, to do so this closely after a referendum result which in effect demanded Devo-Max that may just be a bit disingenuous.

The nicest part is it is all about honesty, honour and integrity. That’s a simple campaign platform. It is also a campaign platform with which Westminster cannot compete.

Should this transpire, it promises to be an interesting development; one which hasn't happened in many centuries. 

an entire cadre of Scottish based Westminster MPs who’ll simply put Scotland's needs first. 

The only clear way under the present scenario to upset that dynamic in any moderately close election, would be an alliance between Labour and Conservatives. Any other alliances with smaller groups of MP’s e.g. UKIP, BNP or Liberal Democrats would only open more eyes in the North, with the certainty of greater issues in London. It’s either that or Westminster tries to pass an act preventing the expressed democratic wish of the Scottish people, and that will not sit well north or south of the border.

Either way, the endgame is now set and the outcome is relatively assured.

I only have to wonder if this wasn't Alex Salmond’s ‘Plan B’ all along. If it had been, then it was a master strategy of playing the long game. All it needed was just one close poll, and the reactions were all entirely predictable from that point on. Win today, or win tomorrow, either way, it’s a win for the nation he cherishes. If it’s a win tomorrow, in Nicola’s hands’, with her lengthy apprenticeship, it’ll be fine.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Guest Writer Steven McBrien on Ms Lamont's Resignation.

Writing something nice about Johann Lamont for me is akin to trying to present herpes in a positive light, but I will finally bite the bullet and admit that I admire her actions today, even if the almost Juvenalian irony of this woman stating that UK Labour treat Scottish Labour "like a branch office" is neither lost on me or anyone else. It's funny, but it seems like just yesterday that she was gloating over Salmond's resignation and looking forward to locking horns with his successor... now, Salmond has outlasted her. She stands down immediately; he doesn't stand down until November. By my calculations, that means he's now seen off four Labour leaders during his tenure as FM, and five since becoming leader of the SNP. Not a bad hit rate.

It also seems like just yesterday that Westminster politicians were swarming their way through the cities and towns of Scotland like termites, promising more engagement with the people here. Needless to say, apart from a ludicrous Lib Dem conference in a swanky hotel, we've seen neither hide nor hair of them since the referendum. A simple equation will tell you why: if one multiplies the sum of the principles these creatures have, and then divides the result by the amount of promises they've actually kept, the result will be equal to the number of fucks they give about us.

But what the hell, Johann, gaun yersel hen. Well done. You've shown people throughout Britain what we in YES already knew: Labour are utterly finished in Scotland. Behold Blair's works, ye mighty, and despair. His true legacy is right here for all to see: thousands of dead bodies, and a dead party. The bastard has more than blood on his hands, but karma's a bitch.

If these people have genuinely reached the stage where they imagine that anyone in Britain, never mind Scotland, wants to see a single sweat-soaked wrinkle on Gordon Brown's golem head, they are beyond insane. As for Jim Murphy, the very fact that he is being touted as leadership material shows just how irrelevant and out of touch these fossils really are. They are pathetic, and their century-long stranglehold on the city of Glasgow is about to end forever. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen: this is going to be a very bumpy night.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

TV Political Debates; Conundrum or Not?

I’ve watched with interest as the SNP have been once again excluded from the General Election debates.

It’s actually been with a great deal of interest since they effectively won a case in 2010, that judicial review stated it was inappropriate to exclude them.

At the time, the arguments used were marginally credible.

The first statement was that they weren’t a ‘UK’ party, but a regional party. The argument then was that as they only contested seats in Scotland, then they’d no part in a UK wide debate.

The second argument actually held a bit more water, at least until this years’ debacle, sorry debate schedule was announced. Both those arguments are now relatively simple to defeat, but before that, we should examine another aspect of the debates.

No actually, I was correct in the first instance for now it is a debacle of democracy which is designed to perpetuate a two party system. The fact that it’s already been ‘pre-ordained’ that the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties will share a head to head excluding all others, is surely a debacle; it makes a laughing stock of any pretence of democracy.

In a true democratic system, in an honourable one, all prospective candidates would be involved in the first debate in any election. The representation would then be whittled down until only the best two or three candidates remained. For these to be selected in advance by the media shows a system beyond corrupt. For it to be accepted largely without question shows a populace who for the most part is simply apathetic and doesn’t care. The referendum in September was a democratic awakening in Scotland, it shows we now care. And we care a whole lot.

As to rebalancing some of that media and Westminster engendered democratic deficit, especially following on from the judicial review in 2010, surely now with being the third largest party in the current UK, the SNP should have a seat at these debates?

The establishment will still fight to prevent it, because the establishment is about perpetuating the UK. With the SNP as the third largest party, the only argument for the establishment to now fall back upon, and it’d be a delaying tactic only, would be that the SNP aren’t a ‘national, UK wide party’. The ‘nation’ part falls to bits when we consider that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg all went on record last month to declare ‘Of course, Scotland is a nation’. That essentially and defensibly, from their perspective, only leaves the ‘Not a UK wide party’ argument.

The issue for the SNP is that it has a policy of not contesting seats in a GE which are not ‘in Scotland’.

Historically there’s a delicious irony here, for their own policy has gifted their opponents the whip with which to flay the party before the electoral masses.

How and ever, the solution could be achieved easily; and it would leave the opposition in a place somewhere between a quandary and a cleft stick.

Contest the seat held by Alan Beith; namely, the constituency of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Legally, although adopted into the area of Northumberland by statute, the town of Berwick upon Tweed actually belongs to neither country, and we’ve just had that affirmation that we’re both countries.

Legally, the SNP can’t be prevented from doing this, which gives the Westminster cabal one of two options; they can retain their claim that the SNP aren’t actually a ‘UK Party’ and effectively concede that Berwick’s a Scottish town, or they can recognize that with seats being contested south of the current border, the SNP are a UK party, they just have the stated goal of dismantling the UK and returning true power to at least some of her people.

The SNP also have the justifiable stance here of claiming Berwick-upon-Tweed as historically a Scottish town, they can even put hands on hearts and smile with a tongue in cheek attitude as they point to the fact it’s actually internationally recognized as such, nodding in the direction of FIFA and reminding everyone that Berwick Rangers play in the Scottish League.

The fact that much of Northumberland is attached to that seat is rather irrelevant for this exercise; it’s about what the seat’s called.

Scotland’s nationalists don’t have to win the seat, but if handled properly there’s a good chance they could. No, all they have to do is wrong foot the establishment, and an announcement such as this would surely do that, especially as they could rightly point out, that unofficial polls have shown a majority of the townsfolk there would rather see the border moved anyway?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

‘You Lost – Now get over it’

The truth will out, the old saying goes. And by jings, I think we’re seeing the evidence of that now.

My-oh-my. How little they understand, it’s just that in this case, the truth will take time to permeate, to insinuate itself into the consciousness of almost every ‘NO’ voter. If the NO side or the NO voter believes there was a loser in this referendum, they are absolutely correct. The identity of the loser is very easy for them to uncover, they just require a mirror.

The cry of “You Lost - Get over it” is one I’ve seen times almost without number in the two weeks since the referendum result was announced. The truth of the matter is, although I would have been delighted with a ‘Yes’ vote, and campaigned and worked to try to gain one, I suppose deep down, I never really expected it. What I did get has exceeded almost every expectation I had. It’s a pity that those who voted ‘NO’ from either a false sense of allegiance, or I suspect more often from simple fear, will have to wait until anywhere from a day to a decade to realize it. Of course by then many who did vote ‘NO’ will no longer be among the living, but before they leave us, they’ll have been privileged to see ‘Austerity’ really bite. I just wonder if they’ll be able to admit their voting error before their personal final curtain drops.

You see, those relying on state pensions voted to perpetuate a virtually bankrupt state, as opposed to a vibrant, energised and resurrected one, one which needn’t have hamstrung their retirement, one which needn’t have continued to pay about the lowest proportional pensions in Northern Europe.

But what about those cries of ‘You Lost!’. Obviously those elderly who voted to ‘protect their pensions’ lost, because with both governments guaranteeing them, how could they not have won?

For the rest of us, here’s where those gloating, troublemaking Unionistas essentially have it backwards.

They themselves are the ones who ‘Lost’; they lost the opportunity to increase the personal value of their vote ten-fold.

They lost the opportunity for a sovereign parliament, answerable only to us, the Scots, and I include every Scot who holds nationhood dear to heart, resident, ex-pat, it’s irrelevant.

These individuals, on the face of it, have lost the opportunity for a constitution to enshrine their rights; their own personally-tailored Bill of Rights. That those self serving careerists in Westminster might be discussing a UK version is immaterial because, let’s face it, they’re even afraid of and desperate to duck the obligations of the European Human Rights court. However, I’m willing to bet their “bill” will protect both their and their bankers’ rights.

Therefore, let me examine exactly what their NO vote guarantees.

Their NO vote will guarantee more broken promises, more London centric policies.

Their NO vote will see politics as usual, Scotland and its referendum is already a footnote to Westminster’s perspective.

Their NO vote will not guarantee any significant extra powers, on the contrary, it can’t. To change things more significantly, they need an English Parliament, if they get that, the UK is over, or it becomes fully federalised with each nation demanding and having an equal say. However, when one nation controls over eighty percent of the population, they’re not going to accept that. To be in the position of having to agree with representatives of the other nations will be intolerable for them. If you doubt it, just research why ‘The West Lothian Question’ has never been resolved.

Their NO vote will guarantee increased taxes and reduced benefits as the extra income is required to pay for England’s debt. When these No voters are poorer and have seen inflation run rampant again, that’s when they will really understand what the NO vote will have won.

Their NO vote has guaranteed as part of a unitary state, the NHS in Scotland has no protection. While NHS England opens the door to privatisation, the same will come to Scotland. We simply don’t have adequate funding to protect it, unless London decides we should.

Their NO vote guaranteed you the right to have Weapons of Mass Destruction parked on your doorstep.

Their NO vote has already put your children in harms’ way again, as we walk the path back to a war in the Middle East. This time it’s the Islamic State. Last time, Iraq, before that, Aden, Palestine, Egypt; where will the next conflict drain the blood of our children into those hot unforgiving desert sands?

A NO vote lost you the immediate right to control those oil revenues, which within few days of the vote you were told had been ‘vastly underestimated’ just the week before. The only real difference, the referendum was over. Those who cared to look had known this for months or years. If that was false, you’d have seen the pound rise, not fall that week.

These are just some of the things those who voted NO have lost.

For myself, I think we won. No, we didn’t get the big prize, as a whole, nor did we bite the apple, but what else did we expect? Believe it; Westminster controls the media, that’s the one power it’ll never willingly give up (Media Bias During The Referendum). It might privatise the NHS, Education, the Mail, Water, Railways, Utilities, but it’ll never give up its propaganda machine. Think about it, the broadcast media are all beholden to Westminster for their licenses – at the minimum. Literally every paper in Scotland is either Union controlled or foreign owned. Glasgow/Sunday Herald/Evening Times Owners 
(Any thinking individual or Scotland's vaunted media - including the BBC - could easily have explained to the Scottish electorate that Westminster could no more keep the promises published in the Daily Record's "Vow" page than it could have produced rocking horse shit from thin air. Simply another example of how our media failed us.)

We won because we exposed that propaganda machine.

We won because we took that vote, which had been hovering sometimes in the 20’s, to over 50. It failed on the day, but it failed through lies and gullibility, not our efforts which will be re-doubled next time.

We won, because the politicians in England were forced to make promises that will destroy the status quo, the Union or both. It’s that or be proven liars. That they will keep those promises is unthinkable, that we would vote NO a second time is unimaginable.

We won because already, after just a few weeks, many ‘Noes’ would change their vote. While I have no sympathy, you can do so in perpetuity, a majority of independence MP’s elected to Westminster or Holyrood, with that proclaimed goal, can easily still deliver the result.

We won because the notion of a free, resurrected and resurgent Scotland is viable, it’s normalised, and it’s desired.

We won, most of all, because we realise that we’re in a world class boxing match, and against us we’ve a world class opponent, at least when it comes to the mechanics of holding others in thrall as it pursues its fading dreams of imperial glory. On the morning of September 19th, the announcement was clear, that in round one, Scotland had failed to deliver the knockout blow, but we know our enemy, for such is the only description of one that would take the food from your mouth and force you to rely on charity. 

Round two is just starting, it’ll end with the Westminster elections; if we hold the balance of power there by returning pro-independence supporting MPs we can proclaim independence. Round three, if needed, will see us at the next Holyrood Elections, again where the stated intent of the MSPs returned will and must be independence.

We must grab the thistle, we must grab it firmly, and we must protect both ourselves and those who come after from this incredible act of what is now self-harm that we call ‘The Union’.

Quite simply, we owe it to the unborn.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Death of the NHS (Scotland)

It’s interesting how the Unionist Parties, all of them, say that the fate of the NHS in Scotland is ‘devolved’, that therefore it becomes wholly the choice of the Scottish Parliament to privatise, or not to privatise, all the while claiming that NHS spending in England is increasing, so our ‘Barnett Equivalent’ is increasing.

Perhaps some of us are stupid enough to believe that. Westminster certainly thinks we are right now, at least judging by its actions.

It’s a bit like me giving you my car, which you absolutely need but don’t have the money to run. I’ll tell you it’ll be fine, just give me your vote and everything will work out, I’ll even pay for the maintenance, I’ll pay for the roads too, the infrastructure, I just won’t tell you it’s actually your money I’m using.

I’m not going to tell you today, when I need that vote, that tomorrow, after you’ve given it to me, I’ll stop giving you the money to buy petrol,

even though I know you don’t have the ability to buy it yourself. I won’t ever actually ask for the car back, why should I? Effectively, I’ll just stop you using it so I don’t have to maintain it any longer; that means I can ignore the infrastructure too.

My car in your hands, the NHS as we know it in Westminster’s hands, both a bit useless after that vote has been used, both of little value once the currency of negotiation has been spent. Without the ability to fund its NHS being firmly in Scotland’s hands, it’s not Scotland’s NHS. It never will be, like anything else, if we can’t fund it, like a car with no petrol, it’s pointless.

There’re two things we all need to be aware of when it comes to funding.

Firstly, Barnett’s on the way out. No Westminster party has pledged to maintain it; mind you, after the student loans debacle, amongst others, those promises wouldn’t be worth much even if they were made.

Secondly, NHS spending in England has increased, but a significant part of that increase now funds shareholder profits, not patient care. It’s still ‘government spending’ they argue in London Town, so Scotland benefits. They’re right as well, but only for today.

After you spend that vote on Thursday, if you spend it foolishly, if you vote ‘No’, here’s what will happen to your NHS, amongst other cherished institutions.

The main English parties have all said they are committed to Austerity. In actual fact, they’ve no choice; they spend so much on servicing a debt created by their economic mismanagement that it’s possibly their only true option.

UK Debt payments, just for interest, already equal four times the cost of Scotland’s NHS, by 2020 they’re going to be close to outstripping the cost of the entire UK’s health care system. That money has to be ‘found’ from somewhere, and they can’t indenture Scottish Oil or sell off the Royal Mail again.

The money will be found from the same place it’s always found, our taxes. In this case, stealth taxes once more. Just like the pensions raids, except now it’ll be an NHS raid.

The NHS in England is largely privately run these days; we just pay the bills and the profits on top. It’s ripe for shifting from the public books.

As that shifting process initiates, expect co-pays to be introduced in England, the think tanks and committees are already sounding them out, the responses they’re getting are positive.

The next stage will be a supplemental ‘tax’ or extra NI contribution, after that employer funded insurance will become de-rigueur. Each small step not that big of a deal alone, each small step so singularly significant moving that £100 billion plus from the government books to our own. Each small step contributing to City profits, even as the square mile contributes to the party coffers.

Expect, over the course of several years, the NHS to go from ‘universal entitlement’ to a ‘needs based benefit’.

As this all happens, even at just a twenty pound co-pay per visit, and three visits a year, that’s 3.6 billion shaved from the public budget in England. That’s about 1/3 of Scotland’s NHS costs, and that proportionate allocation won’t come north anymore, even in the unlikely event Barnett survives. That twenty pound co-pay is only half what Labour’s proposing mind you, Red-Ed is on record at £120 per person a year, with other’s in Westminster’s circles suggesting a tenner a month a head ‘access fee’ per user, so that’d be over seven billion, it’ll cover a bit more mismanagement then?

Typically it can be expected that any tests and procedures will also come with their individual co-pays, and all this will happen, because folk are only too willing to ‘pay a co-pay to save their NHS’, not realizing that even although the staff in front of them might be wearing NHS insignias, they actually aren’t NHS employees. The public doesn’t realize that what ‘they’re paying to save’ is already effectively dead, in England.

Once these conditions become the norm, its reasonable, based upon past trends, to expect those still using the NHS to become vilified as are the public health recipients in America by the US right wing media, they’ll be just another round of ‘benefits scroungers’.

When it’s all done, just remember, you cast that vote, and with an opportunity to truly change the way folk get treated in these Islands, throughout the entirety of these islands, if you cast it with poor judgement, you’ll have used up all your currency, and Westminster certainly isn’t going to call for free critical care or life support for a cause which it views as simply creating wasteful constitutional crises. If Westminster can stop it, there’ll be no more ‘wasteful’ constitutional amendments, otherwise known as devolution.

Remember too, on some future day, when you personally need that life support, from the birth of a child to major surgery, or even simply your elderly care in the years to come, as it is in England already, you’d better be prepared to pay.

There you have it, it’s quite simple really, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Alistair Darling, Ed Miliband or the man who helped start the sell-off of the NHS, and raided your pensions, Gordon Brown. Would you buy a used car from them under any conditions, not just these conditions? How about a soon to be very underfunded NHS Perhaps the promise of a scandal free Westminster works for you?

If you wouldn’t do any of these, why would you buy a Union?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

September 9th 2014; the day the Union Died - Again.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote on the 18th, today marks the day the Union died - again! I say again because I wrote a similarly titled blog in 2011. Perhaps we exist in a strange Union led Zombie Apocalypse?

Today marks the day that the ‘No Campaign’ went into terminal meltdown, that the ‘offers were put on the table’ that the lie that these things take years was exposed.

Today marks the day that David Cameron’s leadership was called into question, in the last twenty four hours, we’ve seen those calls reverberate, because of what; because of two polls? Surely, two polls don’t create a reason, in England anyway, for presenting a PM with a P45.

No, the reason for the meltdown is the drop in Sterling and its impact. That first poll showed the City of London and its traders that they might just ‘lose Scotland’, so they did what good business folk might be expected to do, they started to price it in to Sterling’s value.

There’re a few interesting things behind these adjustments, things the regular press isn’t saying.

Firstly, if a currency union hadn’t been rejected by their lackey’s in Downing Street, it’s very unlikely they’d be concerned at all, not much anyway. If the UK didn’t have lunatics minding the asylum, none of us would be in this position. For several days the currency has been dropping. I’m getting hard hit by that currency drop, can I just say I’m conflicted, between ‘Damn’ and ‘Woo-hoo!’, it’s a hit I’ll happily take.

Secondly, Scotland represents just about 10% of the UK economy, so if we were a sponge, a soak, a drain, then dumping the deadwood could only see Sterling strengthen, stabilize or ‘firm up’ its position. The loss of size would most probably be more than offset by the reduction in liability. Effectively the drop in value by the markets is saying we’re a major contributor to Sterling and the UK’s credit-worthiness.

Put simply, if you’re the bank, and the junkie sponging kid wants to leave home, you might consider a loan to mum and dad. If the major breadwinner leaves and the junkie kid stays to keep draining resources, when the remaining parent who’s shown bad money skills comes along for another loan, your reaction might be a bit different.

It’s the prospect of that reaction, of the near calamity that the remaining UK would be forced into that’s causing the current panic in London Town. Let’s face it, if a kid’s a drain and a problem, we’re happy to see it leave, make its own way and grow up a bit in the big bad world. If that kid’s contributing and useful, there’s just a possibility we might not be so eager. Now just imagine if we’d borrowed on the strength of that kid’s wages and couldn’t pay it back without them?

Wouldn’t we fight to keep them under our roof?

Wouldn’t we argue against the risks and consequences of leaving?

Wouldn’t we hide our true predicament from them?

If we were unscrupulous, we absolutely would. There’s one thing we’d have to know though, we’d have to be aware that one day, some day, we’d be ‘found out’.

Today, the Union has been ‘found out’. Like the child who’s now growing into the knowledge, that information, that genie, it can’t be stuffed back into its bottle. It’s just not that compliant.

The referendum might fail, although I doubt it. Despite the outcome, today marks the day the Union died. Those powers being promised, the soul searching in Westminster, the hand wringing and finger pointing by our ultra biased media, in the event of a ‘NO’, they’ll fade away. It’s likely that those promised extra powers will too. There’ll be ‘unforeseen difficulties’ and they’ll never be implemented in any sort of functional way.

The thing is, the Scots won’t forget, Scotland is now a nation re-energized, it has recovered much of its political will. If ‘Yes’ isn’t successful on this occasion, there will be another, because the people won’t forget. However, next time don’t expect Westminster to agree, they’ve just had too big a fright.

‘Next time’ it’ll possibly even be a Unilateral Declaration of Independence that’s voted through by the people, after a party wins power on that platform, and it possibly won’t be far away. You see, you can lie, cheat and steal from the kids, but once their trust is finally betrayed, it’s over.

‘Next time’, be it referendum or declaration, can be prevented, but only with wholesale power transference to Edinburgh, power transference so meaningful and so utterly comprehensive that Scots will come to believe that we’re truly ‘better together’. The issue is that if any Cabinet attempted this, the riots in England would be unimaginable. Politically, such a transference of power is next door to impossible.

History will show September 9th 2014 to have been important, not only will it have been an excellent birthday present for my mother’s 80th, the day Flodden’s loss began the effective path to Union, and the day Mary of Scots was crowned, it will also mark the effective end of Scotland as a proclaimed dependency, and I say ‘proclaimed’ as it’s been such in the popular UK media for centuries. I say ‘proclaimed’ because the markets are right now, right here, telling a very different story. They’re telling a story similar to that of immensely prosperous Luxembourg, tiny, incredibly wealthy, it also got its independence today, 147 years ago.

One other thing, today was also the day in 1914 that the Irish met at the Gaelic conference and initiated the process that would become the revolt to free a nation. Ours is simpler, it doesn't involve guns, but just like theirs, it’s thrown Westminster into a state of confusion and panic.

A resumption of statehood for Scotland is drawing close; only the final date really has a question over it, that and how simple the process will be.

So, in a few days, there’s a choice. Do it now and do it simply, or suffer more and do it later.

For Scotland, it’s a bit like the difference between flossing today and a root canal tomorrow.